Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back From House Hunting

We went to Shizuoka for two days of house hunting. Instead of a three hour drive it took 6 hours! There was an accident on the first toll we got onto. That added two hours. The next was a missed exit. Luckily we had a map and GPS (of course all in Japanese) that helped us get on track, just added to the trip time. Seeing that I hadn't planned for such a long trip, the girls were not happy. we ran out of food, drinks, and activities not long into the trip. Oh, it was miserable.
We met with Marc, the American that has been helping us out in finding a realtor and a house. He took us to a young couple's home where we were staying those two nights. Eric immediately met one of the realtors and talked about three possible homes. One was of the house I linked pictures to and two others that were pretty small and was told it might not be what we are looking for. We were scheduled to look at the one house Wednesday, as long as the owner was willing to rent to us. Lots of Japanese don't want to rent to foreigners, that wasn't the issue here. She can't have a certain amount of income in a year or she'd loose another form of income she receives. Confusing, but it is what it is. After meeting with the realtor, Marc and his wife Yumiko had us over for a wonderful dinner.
The next morning we met another realtor and saw two more houses. One was right next to a park, had a great yard, but was not in very good shape. It would take at least a month to be in living condition and would be just ok. The second house was great. It was six rooms plus the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It was huge. However, it didn't have the best location. It was right on a busy road, no yard, no nearby parks, and across from a cemetery. That part didn't bother us, it was the location in general that made it a less than perfect choice. We had one more house to look at, as long as she decided to rent to us. We'd find out the following morning.
We heard the following morning that she was still on the fence but was allowing us to look at the house. It was in the same neighborhood as several other American families which happens to be a really nice neighborhood. It's quite, lots of parks, and closer in general to stuff (school, church, grocery stores). It's 4 bedrooms (one being a tatami room downstairs and three rooms upstairs) and a little yard (when I saw yard it's more like a hallway of grass). It's not nearly as spectacular as the other house, but the location of it plus the yard was a seller for us. The master bedroom will be re carpeted, wallpaper replaced in the living room, and lights replaced in several rooms. We decided to pursue the house and were told she'd make up her mind in three days. We headed back to Yokota AB late yesterday with the hopes that one of those two houses would work.
This morning I went to my drivers license class and passed. Eric picked me up for lunch and told me he just got the call that the lady will rent to us. Now it's onto negotiations. We have a list of appliances we want that the realtor's company will arrange for us to get and add it into the rent (the military is paying for that, no out of pocket expenses for us). Just to blow your mind, the only AC is in the master bedroom so we're requested one for the living/dining/and kitchen as well as the kids rooms. We've also requested a refrigerator, a microwave convection oven (no ovens in Japan), washer and dryer (dryers are a luxury there), and a rice cooker. You heard me, that's a major appliance there! So, it looks like Eric will have to go to Shizuoka one more time to sign paperwork and then we'll be moving in a week and a half to two weeks.
Well, Chloe is screaming so I should go. I'll email more. BTW, pray for my mom. I got an email the other day from my grandma saying she fell and broke her arm. I haven't had a chance to call during day time for them so I'll find out more later. Pray for quick healing and little pain.


Jen said...

Good luck with the negotiations! Post pictures when you can.

I hope your mom's break isn't too severe - maybe she'll get a cute pink cast for 3 weeks like Justice? :)

Vicki said...

Good luck with the house! It'll be great to live close to American families! I hear cooking with convection ovens is fun once you get used to it.

I hope your Mom is OK! It can't be easy to have a broken arm! Is it the one she uses to write with?

Laura said...

Things really seem to be moving fast for you guys. I'm excited that you may have found a house to live in. How are the kids adjusting?

I'll try and give your mom a call to see if she needs anything. Take care! Miss you guys!

Pam said...

Mom here, yes it's my writing arm, and try typing with one hand and the left one to boot!!
6 weeks in a sling, and out of work....will work hard to get back to work so I don't lose my job!!!